|Still from War Horse|
After his Father Ted (Peter Mullan) makes the impulsive decision to purchase a Thoroughbred Horse for 30 guineas, Albert (Jeremy Irvine) finds himself scrambling to train it into a Workhorse in hopes of recouping its expensive price. The Boy develops an inseparable bond with the Colt, whom he names Joey, ably training him into a contributing Helper on their Farm.
Possibly facing eviction by their ruthless Landlord Lyons (David Thewlis), Ted sells Joey off to Captain Nichols (Tom Hiddleston) at the onset of World War I. This breaks Albert's spirits completely as both he and Joey are separated indefinitely - their futures uncertain in dangerous times. War Horse is the heartwarming Story of two unlikely Heroes - Human and Equine - who are driven apart by times of change and also inspired to fight to survive under those same circumstances.
Director Steven Spielberg pulls out all stops to deliver a compelling Story on the grand scale which it deserves to be told. His characters are multidimensional and human and he truly takes us on a real Journey where we grow with both Albert and Joey, empathizing at every unfortunate turn and setback along the way. "The War is taking everything from everyone", we are reminded in the Film. Admittedly I could not stop crying throughout War Horse - especially in a powerful sequence where Joey breaks free from his Captors - and also the beautifully-lit final moments of the Film. Literally, I teared-up so much that my face began feeling numb at the end of the two-and-a-half hour Journey. And that's a good thing.
Particularly noteworthy - other than the talented 14 Horses which played Joey - is Irvine in his big breakout Role tugging at our heartstrings with a pleading, boyish gaze. Hiddleston, despite seen only littleston, is remarkably likable as a well-meaning Captain. Mullan and Emily Watson as Albert's Parents Ted and Rose, are pitch-perfect in their undying devotion to one another as a Family. And who can help but be affected by John Williams' brilliant Score?
Animal Movies might not be for everyone, but anyone really can relate to the heart of this deeply visceral Tale. DreamWorks Studios releases War Horse, already a Best Picture Candidate, on December 25, 2011.